University of Sydney robotics researcher and PhD candidate at the Australian Centre for Field Robotics (ACFR) Daniel Wilson has won the 2014 International Simulink Challenge.
Wilson used MathWorks’ Simulink Software to develop his winning entry ‘Skymaster’, an autopilot for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). The project is part of an ongoing effort to tackle drone engineering challenges such as in-flight refuelling and docking.
Wilson chose UAV autonomous formation flight as a focus area after observing the drone community gaining momentum on a global scale.
Wilson believes there’s huge scope for the use of UAV technology in everyday life, despite the many technical and regulatory challenges existing now. However, unlike large commercial organisations, the community has been able to take a more agile approach to tackle those challenges with its research. This flexibility allowed them to develop their own low-cost, high-performance and flexible autopilot, which is being used to demonstrate the novel multi-UAV guidance, navigation, and control algorithms being developed by Wilson in his research.
Wilson was one of many students from around the world who participated in the competition, submitting videos that showcased their work and the diverse applications of Simulink software. Wilson considers the International Simulink Challenge a great initiative for students to demonstrate their innovative projects and applications on a global scale.
Wilson received the award from MathWorks Principal Software Engineer Loren Shure, who reiterated the importance of project-based learning in tertiary curriculums by pointing out that students preparing to enter the workforce will increasingly be expected to have computational skills. The International Simulink Challenge is one way MathWorks is encouraging project-based learning amongst students, and allowing them to apply their skills to solving real world problems.